The Dark Net – Benjamin Percy

I feel bamboozled. I picked this up hoping it was going to be about cybercrime. I figured that made sense, considering the title.

It wasn’t.

Benjamin Percy’s The Dark Net is a pretty damn boiler plate horror novel. There are some heroes fighting some nefarious forces of darkness, and some of this is attached to a very surface level passing over the idea of the dark web (pun… intended? I don’t know). I find it pretty hard to understand how this felt so cliched to me considering how little horror I actually consume. The heroes are linked to a world most people cannot really so or interact with, and some previously oblivious bystanders get dragged in, only to become the new heroes fighting the good fight in this world. There is a chain-smoking hard edged hero who seems to have been in the game far too long. At some point there is a scene of some of the villains and they are black-robed, likely chanting in Latin.

I don’t want to make this review about my nitpicks1, nor do I want to indulge in the standard ‘I just don’t understand the horror genre because my brain is broken’ type post I have done for every other damn horror novel I have ever read.

At this point I myself am sick of pointing out that horror, as a genre, does not seem to do much for me. I have tried taking a ‘it’s not you it’s me‘ approach, but I think I am through with that now. It’s you, horror genre. Be better.

The writing here was pretty good, or at the very least never noticeably bad. I actually came across the author because a friend once compared my writing to Percy’s. This, frankly makes me want to work a lot harder on my own writing, and I hope that I am getting there.

1 Ok, forgive me the one damn nitpick. I couldn’t resist. At some point a character goes down into a secret passage built into some property he owns, and I laughed my ass off. I will accept that from Game of Thrones – a king builds a castle, and has a whole labyrinth of secret passages built through. I can see kings doing that, as you can have the builders all killed afterwords, not to mention that the secret passage in GoT are of a complexity that few people ever understood them, and they were built ages ago. But here? Wasn’t working for me. Who excavated the space? Did he hire a crew of day laborers? Did he plan it himself? Did he contract out an architect? I have so many questions. Not to mention that this hidden lair is state of the art, so it greets him on arrival, and he greets it back. This character has not up to this point demonstrated the technical background to do that kind of coding. It just felt ridiculous. If this person had such a shelter, all of Portland would have known about it.

This is why I cannot have nice things.

Frankly, I have no idea. And I am happy this way.

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